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dimanche 17 mars 2019

Pothole season arrives early in Montreal after a long freeze/thaw winter

Pothole season is not waiting for the official arrival of spring.

In fact, CAA-Québec notes pothole season is well underway already, particularly in urban centres like in Montreal, where the volume of traffic is much larger.

Annie Gauthier, a spokesperson for CAA-Québec, explains the multiple periods of freezing and melting Quebec experienced  this winter has contributed to accentuating the problem on roads.

It is also not easy for motorists to be compensated for the damage done to tires, wheels or the suspension of their vehicle.

“They rarely obtain (compensation) for repairs,” said Gauthier, while adding when that is the case, often the amount received does not cover the the costs for repairs and the inconvenience suffered.

Since 1992, provincial law on cities and towns exonerates municipalities from all responsibility for damages to tires and and a vehicle’s suspension when it comes to the poor state of a roadway. In order to be compensated, citizens have to show there was negligence involved, with proof to support their claim.

In Montreal, city hall opposition leader Lionel Perez said councillors in his party have received so many complaints this year they decided to launch a debate with the goal of having the city take responsibility for the maintenance of its roads.

Ensemble Montréal, put forward a resolution in city hall last week calling on the city to ask the Quebec government to modify the law and to withdraw the exemption. The resolution will be debated during a council meeting on March 25.

The measure would cost around $750,000 per year, according to Perez, who says he got that figure from Mayor Valérie Plante’s cabinet.

In an interview with Presse Canadienne, he recognized while that is a lot of money, it is a drop in the bucket in the city’s $5.5-billion annual budget.

“Sometimes, it takes draconian measures or a bit of pressure to force things,” Perez said. “This resolution, if adopted, will send a very strong message to the government of Quebec because it comes from the city.”

Perez also said he can’t understand why Quebec is the only province in Canada where the exemption exists in law.

“Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta do not have it. Why do we need this type of exemption in Quebec when the other provinces do not need it?”

Meanwhile, Gauthier calls on drivers to remain vigilant, even if winter is nearly over, and to drive in a way that allows them to anticipate what is ahead, notably by slowing down and leaving space between the vehicles in front of them.

If several drivers are tempted to brake abruptly or zigzag at the sight of a pothole, that is not the right approach to avoid damaging your car, Gauthier said. She explained if a pothole can’t be avoided, it is better to take the foot off the gas pedal, not hit the brakes, and maintain your path.

In April, CAA-Québec will launch its fifth annual spring campaign to find the 10 worst roads in Quebec.

“Every year, we get an upsurge in participation and (people identifying problems),” said Gauthier, while inviting people to attach a photo with their vote.

While the exercise isn’t scientific, it doesn’t prevent CAA-Québec from informing the government and municipalities concerned and incite them to make necessary repairs.

“We have seen results. No municipality or government wants to find themselves on the (top 10) list,” Gauthier said. “It’s always a little embarrassing and in the majority of cases, money is spent to do temporary or permanent work to improve the situation.”

from Montreal Gazette

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